Now they sin more and more; they make idols for themselves from their silver, cleverly fashioned images, all of them the work of craftsmen. It is said of these people, “They offer human sacrifices! They kiss calf-idols!” Therefore they will be like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears, like chaff swirling from a threshing floor, like smoke escaping through a window. – Hosea 13:2-3
The subject of today’s passage is rebellion and stubbornness of the people of Israel. They seem intent upon replacing the God who wants to carry them like a son or daughter with an unruly calf they can kiss. The absurdity of this is striking, yet if I am honest I am guilty of doing the same thing. How often have I squandered my gifts and looked for a worship experience that would wow me when I should have been content with a whisper of God’s Holy Spirit. How often have I willingly participated in “decorating the alter” with things that are are extraneous and unnecessary?
Sometimes I think we make following God much too hard. Don’t get me wrong, I think faithfully following God is one of the hardest things we can do, but it hard because we make it hard not because God makes it hard. In yesterday’s passage we explored our role as “Poohsticks“, I think we are quick to install little motors on our “Poohsticks” in the hopes that we will be able to go where we want to go rather than where God, and the Holy Spirit, leads us.
The people of Israel have installed motors on their Poohsticks, and are blissfully boating around toward destinations of their own choosing. God is reminding the people of Israel of their true role and abilities as children of the Living God. They will be “like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears”. So they will be something ephemeral and fleeting, something that the rising sun (Son) drives away.
I think sometimes we like to think of ourselves as thunderstorms, when we are really just a dew or mist on this earth. We bluster and bellow with all our might and only come across as a drip of dew that quickly disappears. We could take this two ways, 1) we could decide that life is meaningless and ignore God and His commands; or 2) we could recognize that we are one very small part of a very large spiritual cycle that we often can only see a small part of.
I think the people of Israel will not understand this choice any better than many of us understand it. They will be like smoke seeping out the window on their way to who knows where. They will use the gifts that God has given them as craftsman to fashion idols that they can worship rather than the giver of the gifts, God.
Prayer: God You are the giver of gifts. Help us to use these gifts for your glory rather than our own.